There are two basic ways to get your property tax appeal to the Superior Court level. First, you can go through an administrative hearing (before a Board of Equalization) and the results of the administrative hearing can be appealed directly to the Superior Court, as a matter of right. You have 30 days from the date of the administrative judgment (BOE) to file an appeal to the Superior Court. The second way to get to the Superior Court is with an agreement with the respective Board of Tax Assessors to go directly to the Superior Court and bypass the otherwise required administrative hearing – this method is rarely used.
There are two ways for you to retain me to represent you in the Superior Court.
- First, from the onset, you can retain my services to file the appeal to the Superior Court and I take it from there.
- Secondly, I can be retained to takeover an appeal to the Superior Court that you filed or that you had some other person or entity file for you.
It is best to bring me into the picture as soon as possible because there are deadlines that will expire if action is not taken timely. For example, I file interrogatories, request for production of documents and requests for admissions against the county – by Superior Court rule, I only have a maximum of six months to file such discovery requests – in some counties, the Superior Court judges do not give you the full 6 months – in some cases, it can be as short as 60 days. Such discovery items are of paramount importance.
My fee is totally contingent – if I do not achieve a reduction in your assessment – you do not owe me anything.
Judge or Jury. You have the right to select if your appeal to the Superior Court will be decided by a judge or a jury. I will make that decision for you based on my knowledge of the jury pool in that particular county and/or my knowledge of the Superior Court judge assigned to your appeal.
Your personal or company attorney. If you have a trusted personal or company attorney and you would like to have him/her work with me, I have no objection for for your attorney to be involved with me – as long as it is understood that I will serve as lead counsel.
Having served as lead national trial attorney for a number of worldwide companies, including GE, I have had many jury trials and bench trials (tried to a judge). And, since 2009 when I narrowed my practice to focus solely on litigating with boards of tax assessors on real property tax assessments, I have handled many tax appeals cases to the Superior Court.
Expenses other than my fee. There are several extraneous expenses associated with appealing to the Superior Court, in addition to my fee. First, there is a filing fee paid to the Clerk of the Superior Court. This varies from county to county and ranges generally from $207.50 to $217.00. Secondly, if the appeal actually goes to trial there is a cost for a court reporter, which runs generally $450 (historically, I have been able to negotiate an acceptable settlement, dispensing with any need for trial, on approximately 90% of my cases – therefore, avoiding the court reporter expense). There is also the expense of having an independent appraisal on the property. This cost varies because it depends on which appraiser I choose to work with. I select the appraiser based upon his or her experience with both the type of property and the county in which the property is located. You approve the appraisal cost prior to incurring any expense with an appraiser. Appraisal costs vary depending on the size of the property and the complexity of the appraisal. I do not work with just one appraiser – I choose the right appraiser for your particular type of property and one who has a great track record. The county will have 1 or 2 certified commercial appraisers on staff testifying to the value of the property, so the right choice of an independent appraiser testifying on your behalf and working with me is of paramount importance. Being able to choose the best appraiser for your particular type of property and one very familiar with the area within which your property is located versus being saddled with an in-house appraiser – has proven invaluable in achieving the greatest reductions.
My contingency fee is: 1/3 of the total savings achieved, calculated by taking the reduction amount achieved times 40%, which gives you the taxable portion of the reduction amount; multiply that times the millage rate; multiply the product by 33% and multiply that result by 3 (which computes to 33% of the total savings realized over the 3 year frozen period).